Councilors Hear from Public on Reaction to Weekend Security Enforcements
People in the Charlottesville community are weighing in with their thoughts about the past weekend of August 11-12.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville public is weighing in with their thoughts about the past weekend of August 11-12.
On Tuesday, August 14, City Council hosted a listening session to give community members the chance to be heard.
Councilors officially ended the local state of emergency on Tuesday evening, which was initially declared on August 8 and ran through the weekend. Now, people are speaking up about how the city executed plans over the past weekend.
“The over-policing of this weekend failed to rectify the damage of last year's police stand-down,” Kibiriti Majuto, of UVA Students United, said.
Many are saying the number of police on August 11 and 12 was too high.
"They came in here with a really antagonistic attitude towards the protesters; they see them as the enemy,” John Mason, who lives in Charlottesville, said.
Some people are saying that that state of emergency was not even necessary in the first place.
“They called an emergency without a factual basis for an emergency,” Jeff Fogel, an attorney in Charlottesville, said.
On Tuesday, dozens spoke to city councilors at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center to weigh in on how the weekend went.
“While I appreciate the over-policing for white Nazis, we need to decrease the over-policing in black neighborhoods,” Tanesha Hudson, who lives in Charlottesville, said.
On August 12, a group marched from Washington Park to 4th Street, which is the site of Heather Heyer’s memorial. They were met by police, blocking the secure perimeter.
“We weren't allowed to mourn,” Nancy Carpenter, who lives in Charlottesville, said. “Thank God there were some strong people in there that were trained in de-escalation.”
“Why did they put riot gear on us?” Katrina Turner, who lives in Charlottesville, asked. “They gave Susan Bro respect, and I understand that, they gave her the respect enough to leave from down there. And as soon as Susan Bro left, they started suiting up on us. Why?”
Others at the listening session talked about going through security to get onto the Downtown Mall.
"This is unbelievable,” Fogel said. “People are getting used to going to concerts, to going to sporting events and so on, and having their bag searched but not walking down the main street of our city."
Some people readdressed their desire to take down the Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson statues that remain standing in downtown parks.
"They were put up 70 years after the war was over and I think if we think of it that way, we can get a good grasp of how ridiculous it is,” Roberta Williamson, who lives in Charlottesville, said.
If you want to weigh in but did not get a chance to come to the meeting on Tuesday, you can submit comments online or call the city at 434-970-3109.